The IPCC Fourth Assessment is out, as is news of the political process and “last-minute wrangling” that gave us the final product.
Two topics were especially controversial. The first is the relationship between hurricane intensity and climate change. Predictably, the U.S. lobbied for weak language on the topic. One blogger on RealClimate notes that Europe’s news coverage hardly emphasizes the point. Or is that because Europe isn’t hit by hurricanes?
Second, the IPCC models leave out significant melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as ClimateProgress has noted and RealClimate also observed. As Drew Shindell, from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, put it:
The melting of Greenland has been accelerating so incredibly rapidly that the I.P.C.C. report will already be out of date in predicting sea level rise, which will probably be much worse than is predicted in the I.P.C.C. report.
While the Fourth Assessment is a valuable contribution, it is still a conservative, already-out-of-date summary targeted at policymakers, who aren’t as easily pushed into action as, say, the melting glaciers.